My Singer Le Mans
April 27, 1998
Well this is it, she is mine. I have looked for a Le Mans since the mid-1970’s this one is in BAD shape but its mine. Expect to see her on the road in 8 to 10 years, first thing is get the DMV (Dept. of Motor Vehicles) to give me a title on the car, then it comes off the trailer and gets dismantled. Sand blast the frame, paint it, get the wheels rebuilt and new tires put on and re-assemble the frame with the wheels. That way I can roll it around where I need to work on her and then put the body back on and remove the aluminum skin and redo the wood. With the body on the frame I hope I will be less likely to make major mistakes on the wood dimensions etc. This year, the goal is get the frame apart and painted and the wheels and body back on. Then I stop for a while and start collecting all the missing parts….
April, 30, I got her titled by the DMV it was pretty easy. I had to take the car to the DMV so they could verify the serial numbers and that was it. The lady explained that since there were no records of that car, it made it easy. So here is the basic info…1934 Le Mans, ser. no. 60217, British license number AYW 709.
First sold March 1934 to a Mr. S. Bocock of East Finchley, London, the car was known to the UK SOC in 1965 when a Mr. Marsh owned it and also in 1974 when a Mr. Moir owned in London. It came to the U.S. sometime after that but was never registered and the import/export papers were lost prior to my purchasing the car. It was originally black with green interior and will probably be British Racing Green when I put it together. That would make it my first car that is not Red.
August, 28… Not much progress. I had a heck of time with the city to allow me to build a 14ft. X 16ft. addition to the back of my garage JUST for my Le Mans and it also took longer to build than I expected. Actually longer to finish then build, it seemed to take forever to get all the details done. But the car is in there now and coming apart. The good news is the engine is free turning! but the cam riser on the number 1 Intake valve is pretty badly scored, the rest look ok. The wood is in good shape, it will make great patterns and so far parts have not been a problem to find, except for the steering wheel light switch, that seems to be impossible (so far). And the frame may be bent slightly. But otherwise still basically on schedule for a rolling (no engine, no body) chassis by Xmas with new brakes, paint, etc.
Dec 5 and 6… Wow, has it really been since late August that I did any major work on the toy…not really, I did tinker with the car and bought a few parts. I got a steering gear switch and I am looking for the other end now at the steering wheel itself, hopefully I got some wheels too. I purchased them and a friend of mine picked them up, hopefully they are as good as he says. And of course its pretty obvious my overly optimistic schedule is way behind on getting the frame done by Xmas but I am happy with the progress on getting parts so that makes up for being behind.
Jan 1999…LOTS and lots of progress and lots of pictures…Santa was good to me and gave me a whole week to work on the car undisturbed. Some bad news and some good news, the frame has one pretty bad crack in it and the front leaf springs are wrong or at least different between left and right. The engine has the speed counterbalanced crank in it and thatâ€™s good. As expected the engine at one time threw the number 2 rod out the side of the block, I expected this since there is a plate on the side of the block. The cylinder skirt is broken in the block from the rod incident and the hole in the block is pretty big but itâ€™s all sealed up with the external plate so I will leave it alone. The cylinders are +.40 already but they look really good, only slight scoring on the number 2 cylinder. I have not measured them yet but I am very pleased with their condition. The one potential problem with the motor I have found so far is the flywheel, its been badly buggered to get the bolts in. Two of the bolt holes have been bushed, I assume because they were oblong but I have never seen that happen to a flywheel before. Anyway 2 of them have been bushed and the bushings stick out the back of the flywheel and the crank was re-machined to accept the bushings. I donâ€™t know what I will do about this mess, I might leave it alone but the machining is so poorly done that I am assuming just from the cosmetics that it will be a problem with balance, etc. The transmission gears all look very good with little wear on them, the shifter is all messed up. The shifter has been broken and welded at least once; I will get a new one since they are available. I also found out that I have the wrong dynamo housing with no tachometer drive gear.
Wow, I am rereading this and it sure makes my car sound BAD, but its not all that bad, the frame appears to be straighter than I expected and there is virtually no rust on the frame. The body is easily rebuildable, itâ€™s not as bad as it seems.
Feb. 1, 1999. I have been spending a lot of time on the frame, its bent as I expected. After welding up the crack I found the distance from the rear front spring hanger to the very tip of the frame was not the same. This was because one dumbiron was bent upwards, so I bent it back down and removed a “twist” in the dumbiron at the time. Got the distance within 1/16 of an inch, close enough for me. From the front of the frame to the first cross-member (the one behind the engine not the one that the steering mounts to), there is 1/4″ difference in the diagonal measurements so the frame is bent by 1/8″ there. I will leave that alone since for me to try and fix it might make it worse. The rear section is the bad one, rear cross-member to tip of frame is out by 3/16″, I would normally leave that alone but when I measure diagonally from the front of the frame to rear of the frame, I am out by a total of 7/16″. The diagonal measurement is off by 7/8″ which means I have to move the frame 7/16″ to the right to get it inline.
Feb, 8. I spent the weekend measuring and fiddling with the frame. I removed a twist in the rear section which helps but I could not get the rear section straight. I just don’t have the right knowledge and tools to hold one side in place while I bend the other. I am also confused on the bend or more likely which side is bent and which side is straight. The thing is so flimsy and flexible that you have to move the frame past where you think it should be, heat it and hope it does not flex back to its original position. I have talked on the phone (my wife will HATE the phone bill) to 2 people in the UK and Phillip in Canada and another 6 people in email who have all said…leave it alone, its under a half inch, its close enough. By getting rid of the twist I have the frame 3/8″ off from front to rear. I hate the idea of putting the car together knowing that its not perfect. During a restoration, I know that you often can’t get things perfect but this is not a easy one to go back and fix after the car is finished.
Feb, 9 HELLPPPPP, I can’t decide what to do about the frame, People in the UK, people in the States and Canada and my own wife say leave it alone and move on, I hate leaving it bent that 3/8″. Temporarily I will move on to the front springs, I hope that re-arching them will make them the correct length, they have too much curve in them right now. They are supposed to have 3 5/8″ camber or curve and they have 4 1/2 inches, remove that inch should increase the length the need 3/4″ and then I get to play with the leaves to get them right. The rear springs look original that is a good start.
2 Years later and I get back to this webpage, I quit entering information even though I kept working on the car because I did not know HOW TO keep this page going without becoming so big it was useless. I experimented with several ways and I did not like any of them, I tried setting up a Flash app that gave a chronological view of the car, it was cool but not really useful, so for lack of a better idea, I have kept this format and will go to more pages as I move on.
For example, if you have been coming to this page for years then you know it used to have 2 dozen more pictures and I had no idea how to keep adding without being too big, so I have removed them and added a link to the “next” page and the next, etc….not the way I wanted to do this but it works.
Some answers to the above and then you can read all about it as I continue…
Jan, 2004. I have the frame pretty much done as you will see if you continue on, I worked on the frame even more and got it within 1/4″ and I left it like that, I found one reason that you will see for the bend. I purchased new front springs and my motor is shot and beyond rebuild, so after several months or maybe even a year of soul searching I got a Spridget motor…
Ok, now you can look at the pretty pictures and read on…